No-one Chooses To Be An Addict

No one chooses to be an addict.

‘God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.’

Serenity Prayer

When trauma is experienced in a person’s life especially in early childhood, the brain and the nervous system responds in a way to try and keep us alive, it throws the body and mind into fight or flight mode, hurtling us into the stress system, preparing the body to do whatever it needs to survive.

While this is the body’s primal technique of survival, after the experience of trauma, through no fault of our own we can get stuck there. Reliving our painful past, or fearing the future.

I know how unbearable life can be in the midst of addiction, everyday I was stuck in a negative cycle, in both body and mind, I hated the way I felt, I hated myself, I wished it would end, and I kept searching for a way out.

So what does any person do in a situation when life feels that painful just to be in one’s own skin?

We reach, we reach outside of ourselves for whatever we can to help soothe or numb the pain. Whether we choose drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, shopping, or thought process, all addictions are an attempt to soothe feelings of distress.

No one chooses this life, no one chooses this pain and suffering…no one chooses addiction. Through the process of reaching and soothing, which some of us may have started at a very young age, we inherently learn how to cope.

We find a way to regulate our emotions and to ease the pain because we were never taught how; I don’t think many of us are. 

The fight or flight response is linked to the Autonomic Nervous System and the word autonomic means, involuntary or unconscious. And while the nervous system is to an extent these things, what is rarely spoke about or taught is that this system doesn’t have to keep running on auto-pilot. 

The wonderful thing about yoga, breath-work, and meditation is that through these various practices we can, in a split second CHANGE HOW WE FEEL. And not by reaching outside of ourselves, but by going within, using the body, using the breath, changing hormonal flow, and relaxing the nervous system, so that we can find a place of comfort in our own skin.

We learn how to make the unconscious conscious, manifesting a new awareness about our entire experience as a human being, on and off the mat. 

Want to learn more about the nervous system, how it responds to danger and how yoga can help? Check out my article on Using Polyvagul Theory In Yoga

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